Several months into my pregnancy with twins, doctors as well as educational reading material, constantly addressed the importance of folic acid to prevent neural tube birth defects, such as spinal bifida. Especially in the matter of having twins, as they run an even higher risk of having neural tube birth defects, I realized the severity and importance of having folic acid in one’s diet.
I also learned how important it is to already be eating a healthy diet consisting of vitamins and minerals like folic acid several months before even getting pregnant. I had actually started taking prenatal vitamins and eating a diet high in folic acid nearly 3 months before I found out I was pregnant. This made me feel more at ease when being pregnant, especially during the first trimester when my appetite was lower due to morning sickness. I knew my body was already well prepared and packed with needed supplements for a baby and even more so since it was twins.
Don't rely solely on vitamins. Your body can absorb up to 70-80% more of the needed vitamins via vegetables and fruits compared to 10-20% by taking vitamins. Some of our favorite vegetables high in folic acid for pre-pregnancy and pregnant mothers to supplement into their diet Asparagus Spinach Kale
KMC: Kangaroo Mother Care. Cuddling your baby like a kangaroo is a valuable step parents can give to their newborns. The mother or father places their child, skin to skin, vertically against their chest, acting as sort of a live incubator. Just like a real baby kangaroo, your baby finds themself in a safe, warm pouch helping them to thrive and grow. This is such a great bonding position as well.
My husband and I both spend hours a day doing the KMC with our newborns. We did it with our first and now with our twins. Especially being preemies, we try to give them as much KMC as possible.
This is also a GREAT opportunity to train and get in some valuable tummy time for newborns.
I think it is important for high risk mothers to know and understand their options for pregnancy tests. Especially with twins, when there is a preterm birth risk, there are tests that can be monitored and run. In my case, the doctors were monitoring the following ways:
1) cervical length: This is measured by an unltrasound probe in the vagina. The shorter or when your cervix starts to shorten then you run a higher risk of preterm delivery.
2) fetal fibronection: My doctors also call this the tree branch swab if that lets you know how "pleasant" it is for the patient. It is a test usually ran every 2 weeks via a swab of cervial secrections fooking for certain protein that usually shows up weeks before a delivery. It takes a couple of days to give you test results. A negative test results means that you will probably not go into labor within the next 2 weeks.
3) ultrasounds: I had so many of these, I think I could start doing them myself. It depends on the doctor's peference for how frequently they want these performed. I was having an ultrasound weekly during the 2nd and 3rd trimester and 2x weekly by the 7th month of pregnancy.
Since my doctors, especially my perinatologist, kept weekly checks on me via the above tests, when I had a placenta abruption, she was able to act quickly to save my life and the life of one of the twins.
Just 4 hours after delivering my babies, while waiting in the recovery room, the words “give me a pump” were immediately spoken. The nurse said that she had never had a woman, just hours after having an emergency C-section, asking for a pump. Especially in my condition, as they were wanting to transfuse up to 3 bags of blood from all my blood loss to blood clots. The nurse, and my husband, were trying to encourage me to sleep and recover, but I could only think of my babies. Pumping was just the first thing on my mind, having preemies, I knew I needed to start pumping right away, giving them all the continued support that I could.